The Best Advice I Ever Received Was “Wear Comfortable Shoes”

I am sure you are asking yourself what wearing comfortable shoes has to do with succeeding as a woman in a law firm. Of course, there is the obvious: When you are wearing comfortable shoes, especially in court, you are not distracted and can focus on the job you are there to do. But, to me, the advice to wear comfortable shoes is about much more than footwear. What it really means is that you should be yourself—be comfortable in who you are and stop doing things solely because you think you will impress other people or appear a certain way.

I have had the privilege of working with many different women (and men) with many different styles in how they approached their work, how they handled adversity, the passions they pursued, and in their choice of shoes. Rather than model myself after any of these dynamic women, I saw the success each achieved while still being quite different—and being themselves. And so, I became comfortable with myself and finally heeded the advice I had received. In so doing, I have also been able to recognize that what makes me comfortable is not what makes everyone else comfortable.

In my role as chair of a practice group in a major law firm, I strive to understand that everyone comes with different experiences and perspectives, to listen to and learn from those I work with and for, and to mesh different styles and comforts with standards necessary to provide top client service. And, I wear comfortable shoes.